Ottawa – June 27, 2013 – A newly released report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and Save the Children Canada has found that half of all First Nations children in Canada are living in dire poverty.
The study’s alarming findings are based on the most recent census data and clearly indicate that the living standards of Aboriginal children are much worse than any other disadvantaged community in the country. Moreover, the poverty rate of First Nations children living on reserves is three times as high as non-indigenous children in Canada.
The CCPA says the crushing poverty faced by indigenous children is preventable as the federal government could lift every Aboriginal child up to the poverty line if it was willing to spend $1 billion to achieve that goal. Yet the situation of First Nations children continues to worsen due to Government Boss Stephen Harper's neglect and inaction.
As UFCW Canada's national partner, the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society (FNCFCS), revealed in its 2007 complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, the federal government provides 22 per cent less funding for child welfare services on First Nations reserves than the provinces allocate for non-aboriginal welfare services.
"The findings of this report are extremely troubling, and the fact that the Harper government is aggressively fighting the FNCFCS complaint related to this matter is even more disturbing," says UFCW Canada National President Wayne Hanley. "Why is our federal government defending its decision to underfund support services on reserves when the poverty rate among indigenous children has reached such an unconscionable level?"
Prior to the release of the CCPA study, UFCW Canada activists marked the National Day of Reconciliation with Aboriginal communities by walking and sending letters to Parliament demanding an equal future for all First Nations children. The event was part of the Our Dreams Matter Too campaign, a program launched by the FNCFCS. To find out more about how you can help indigenous children gain access to the same high quality schools, housing, and education as all other children in Canada, visit the FNCFCS website.